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UN Secretary General Report on Afghanistan: “staggering scale of vulnerability across the country”

February 11, 2022

The UN Secretary General submitted its latest report on Afghanistan to the Security Council on 28 January 2022.  It is a 16-page update on the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation. Some brief highlights [and my comments in square brackets].

Overview

  • Afghanistan is undergoing multiple crises – humanitarian, economic, banking – as well as the lack of an “inclusive” government. 

Conflict

  • The level of fighting has decreased significantly – by 91% over August-December 2021 compared to the same period last year.  Armed clashes dropped from 7,430 to 148.  Nangarhar, Kandahar, Kabul and Kunar still see levels of violence.  An increase in attacks against individual Taliban members as well as some intra-Taliban clashes.
  • Still violence of other kinds, including criminal and local conflicts over land and property, including forced evictions of minority groups, often facilitated or tolerated by the Taliban. 
  • The National Resistance Front [headed by Ahmed Massoud and Amrullah Saleh] operate in Panjshir province and part of neighbouring Baghlan.  They are not achieving much.  [But worth remember that in 2002-03, the Taliban were broadly at this point after their defeat…]
  • The Taliban’s security priorities are ISKP and the NRF.  ISKP attacks increased over August–December 2021 compared to the same period in 2020 – from 20 to 152.

Political

  • All government appointees appear to be Taliban, mainly religious scholars and clerics.  Many members of the new government are on the UNSC sanctions list.
  • The 2004 Constitution has been suspended, pending review to ensure laws are compatible with Sharia.  The National Assembly, the Human Rights Commission, Parliament, election management and women’s affairs have all been shut down.

Human Rights

Humanitarian

  • Half the population are in need: “one of the worst food insecurity and malnutrition crises globally” – second drought in four years.  9 million are at emergency levels of food insecurity.  Afghanistan’s GDP has contracted by 40%.
  • Last year, 670,000 were displaced.  This on top of the 5 million displaced since 2012.
  • Impact of economic crisis – women and children at risk from exploitation and abuse – trafficking, selling children, child marriage, recruitment and use of child soldiers, forced labour.  Unconfirmed reports of an increase in domestic violence.
  • “staggering scale of vulnerability across the country”
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